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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Cheltenham
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    2

    Newbie - Student Nurse to Student Doctor?

    Hello!

    I've been hankering around this 'site for a while now and I have finally registered (go me!).

    Here's a little story about me...

    I was in retail management straight out of sixth form. The company I worked for sent me to University in London to study Business and Human Resource Management. I hated it, to say the least, and found myself returning home before finishing first year.

    I found myself in another retail management role, but knew that it was healthcare I wanted to have a career in. I worked for 18 months as a domicilary carer and that gave me the experience to get me to where I am now - a second year student nurse at The University of the West of England. I still have 18months left and have been achieving 80+ in my assignments and exams thus far.

    My A-Levels (from 2009), and I see others have felt this way, weren't the best;
    - Biology (E)
    - Film Studies (B)
    - Psychology (D)
    as well as Extended Project Qualification (C) focussed on Psychology.

    And 7 Bs, 3 Cs and a D at GCSE.

    I don't think I was mature enough to really give education my all 'back in the day' but I feel I have really turned things around and I have been approached to consider GEM by a junior Doctor and a Consultant on practical placement. I guess that has what has led me here....

    I absolutely have my heart set on Newcastle.

    But before I go any further, I need a better understanding of UKCAT - are guide books recommended? I have done the practice tests, but I don't think I put any particular 'skill' into it and it's more of a guess on some of the questions!

    I also fear throwbacks in funding - particularly because I am on an NHS funded course currently.

    The most sensible option for me, I think, is to aim for 2016 entry. As I could work as a registered nurse for two years before starting the course and save up the funds - and also to have the experience to work as a bank nurse while training. There is a bit inside of me, however, that just wants to go for it - with a 'no looking back' type attitude and go for 2015 entry. I'd still have a years experience afterall.

    I guess what I want to know is;
    - Are there any Nurses/Student Nurses turned Student Doctors on the forum that can share their experience with me?
    - Do I sound like a realist or a fantasist in what I want to do?

    Another issue for me is being asked, "Why do you want to be a Doctor now and not a Nurse?". I can't think of a sensible answer to this, apart from that I just know that that is what I want....

    Thanks for reading my post/essay. I look forward to sharing experiences and views!

    P.s. I have a problem with writing too much in informal places (essays are fine!), so someone please virtually kick me if I have bored you with my waffle.



  2. #2
    Member TheTool's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    North West
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    120
    Hi


    Firstly in regards to the UKCAT question, I would recommend the 600 books as it's very useful. Secondly, no you do not sound like a fantasist as there are many people in your position, myself included. Do not worry about your past academic records as quite a few universities, including Kings and Newcastle, do not seem to care that much about it. Just try and get as much as much experience as you can and aim to obtain at least a 2.1 in your degree.
    2015 Applicant

    Gamsat:

    Nottingham:
    St Georges:
    Exeter:
    Warwick:

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    34
    Hi there,

    You sound quite fun not fantasist as u call it.
    I am a second year Nursing Student as well and I can see were u are coming from. I had a 2.1 in my 1st degree from overseas but all the university here are not accepting it despite that it clearly says on certificate B.Sc Hon in Agricultural Economics. Ridiculous isnt it, just because it foreign. Anyway, i am hoping to get in for 2014 straight after finishing Nursing all things being eqaul. I am sitting Gamsat Ireland in March and depending on more second maybe Sept as well. I will start reading from tomorrow as I just finished my 1st semester exams today. For UKCAT, the Ukcay 600 is quite good and also 'How to Master Thhe Ukcat' as well. I used both last year when i decided to do a sort of trial run with Ukcat just to see what i will score and i got an average of 670. keep the dream alive and you will definitely succeed

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2012
    Location
    London
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    correction of typo error on post above. i mean depending on my score for Gamsat in March, maybe i will take the UK version in September as i hoping to get into St. Georges and Unis within London. I have 3 young children and cant afford to go to any Uni outside London

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2013
    Location
    Cheltenham
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    2
    Thank you for your replies!

    TheTool and Princewill, thank you for reassuring me that I'm not just dreaming.

    Today at university we had an Interprofessional Collaboration day with third year medical students and I really do know now that I want to be in their shoes - even if it is in 5 years time, and even if it won't be at that exact event as University of Bristol will not accept nursing degrees! Nevermind...!

    Furthermore, I've never really discussed this with anyone in my cohort - and after today a couple of people have cmoe out of their shells and said "wow, I want to be a doctor...." (if only it were that easy =D) So I raised the topic with a couple of them about GEP and low and behold, they've been considering it too!

    Princewill - I am thinking of doing a test run of UKcat this year. I think it will be worth the money to know what I'm letting myself in for. You got a good score for a test run! Imagine the next time around

    Can you sit the GAMSAT twice in one year if it's in Ireland and UK then? I'll remember that if so....!!

  6. #6
    Junior Member General Practitioner's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Location
    United Kingdom
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    45
    - Are there any Nurses/Student Nurses turned Student Doctors on the forum that can share their experience with me?

    Yes, I am a GP who was once a nurse. Ask me whatever you wish. Some things have changed since I went to medical school in 2003, but not much.


    - Do I sound like a realist or a fantasist in what I want to do?

    When I decided to apply I thought I may be bonkers, but here I am!


    I do like to temper everyones enthusiasm with some reality though. 70,000 applicants are made for 7000 places annually. And working as a doctor in (what remains of) the NHS is not a bed of roses and some days are truly shite. But if you are still keen, go for it!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    66
    Hi,

    So .. I was just like you a couple of years ago. I am now a qualified nurse / med student, so it is possible. I qualified Jan 2012 with a 1st and started med school Sept 2012.

    I initially was only looking at GEM courses, however I decided against this option as they are so competitive and I didnt fancy the GAMSAT either. So im now on the an undergrad with foundation year. This obviously wasn't the initial plan, however after much consideration I decided that I wanted to do medicine by any means possible, and I wanted to get started asap (without retaking Alevels, etc).

    I didnt really tell anyone about my plans either. Just a very close friend and 2 tutors at uni that I trusted 100%. I was worried that I would be looked upon differently if people knew I wanted to be a Dr. However, I had only been in my job as a RN 2 months when I got offered my place at med school, and I told my ward leader almost straight away. I then told everyone on my ward as well and I couldn't have asked for more support and encouragement! They have all been brilliant. I was even allowed to reduce my hours to 1 shift a week contracted, so I just do a night shift at the weekend so I get to study a little while im here and keep my PIN / practice in an area I am comfortable in.

    Hope some of this helps x

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    66
    The other thing Ill say is, apply as soon as you can. As you can see from my sig I applied twice (once for deferred entry) and you can learn a lot from the "practice" application cycle, especially if you get any interviews. Also, if you did get an offer earlier than you had planned you can always ask for deferred entry. x

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2013
    Location
    Sussex
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    4
    I hope you don't mind me tagging onto this thread, but I'm in a similar situation:

    I'm currently waiting for my Adult Nursing BSc results (will find out in just over 2 weeks - eeeek!!), My average mark for years 2 and 3 so far has been 86% so I'm hoping for a 1st. However, I'm aware that Nursing degrees are a lot less academic than medicine.

    I'm one of those people who's not naturally intellegent and I have to work hard and put a lot of effort in to get decent grades. My GCSE's are ok (1 A, 6 Bs, 4 Cs, and 1 D) but I really messed up my AS/ A-levels (DD), mainly because I had no idea what I wanted to do so didn't put much effort in and rarely went to class. So I kind of wrote myself off for any kind of academic future and went for a string of office jobs etc. Finally decided to go to Uni and do a nursing diploma as I could get in from my GCSE's and then converted to a degree in my third year.

    I LOVE nursing, but I don't find it intellectually challenging enough and I would like to be able to do more for my patients and be involved in the cure. I know that if I look back on it in 10 years time I will really regret not at least trying. My Plan is to apply for the UKCAT this summer in order to apply for Sept 2014 intake - by then I will have over a years experience as a qualified nurse on an acute medical ward specialising in oncology.

    I just wanted to ask advice on the following:

    Funding: I am from a middle class working family and it is unlikely that my parents will be able to afford financial support for another 4 years. I am aware that the last 2 years of GEP tuition fees are paid for - is this true? Does anyone have any experience with funding and how they are finding it/ what options are available?

    Age: I will be a mature student (24/25) when applying and as a female am worried that this will mean that I will have to choose between medicine or having a family etc. I know this seems silly to worry about at the moment, but can you really have it all?

    UKCAT vs GAMSAT: The majority of Unis I would look to apply to require UKCAT which is also the cheaper option, however, after speaking to a medical student I would also like to consider St Georges which requires GAMSAT - I would prefer not to pay 200 for a 5hr exam just for one uni but I guess it's something that I will need to consider?

    Academic Challenge: I am aware medical school will be very intellectually challenging (which is what I want) and I will have to work really hard and put a lot of effort in, but is that enough? Or do you have to have a natural ability to absorb lots of scientific info naturally?

    Sorry this is so long - I should have probably started a separate thread, but then there would be 2 of a similar subject.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice you can give (even if that advice is not to bother)

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    182
    Hi,

    Answers to your direct questions:

    Funding - this is from the NHS website:

    "If you are starting your course in the academic year 2012/13, you will have to fund the first 3,465 of your tuition fees in the first year. In the subsequent years of your course, the NHS Bursary scheme will pay 3,465 towards your tuition fees. Throughout the course, eligible students will be able to receive a Student Loan Company loan to cover the difference between 3,465 and the tuition charges of their universities, to a maximum charge of 9,000."

    I believe there is also some combination of loan/bursary for living costs. Essentially, as long as you can save 3.5k before you start, you should be alright.

    Age - Certainly 24/25 is not old - you'd be one of the younger ones on the course. In countries where it's all graduate entry, you can't graduate much earlier than you would.

    However, as a doctor you are frequently moving around (certainly if you want a particular speciality) and studying for exams for ages. Most doctors will have to juggle this with family life, even the ones who started at 18. It's a job that involves long anti-social hours and, although aspects of this get better as you progress and vary by speciality, it's likely to impede more on family life than a conventional 9-5. However, I guess you know what this is like more than most as a nurse?

    The nice thing with medicine is that you have quite good opportunities for part-time work and your salary should be enough that this is still a decent option.

    UKCAT vs GAMSAT- I didn't do the GAMSAT but if you can do well then it really improves your chances of a place. St Georges and Nottingham are both very good options as they have lots of places comparatively and don't place any bearing on your pre-university academics. Warwick is UKCAT but also has lots of places and the same disregard of GCSEs/A levels.

    Academic Challenge- I've never seen myself as having much natural academic ability so I'm hoping hard work will be enough. Anecdotally I've heard that the volume is the issue rather than the content so you'd hope hard work should trump aptitude. I think it's also fair to say that if you get a place then the university will be fairly confident that you can cope with the academic demands.

    Good luck with your applications.
    UEA 2013 - (hopefully) 2018

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